If there’s one thing that America needs right now, it’s immigration enforcement. If there’s one thing that the Democrats loathe spending money on, it’s immigration enforcement.
Given that spending bills originate in the House of Representatives — which is controlled by the Democrats — the left probably thought they had that angle sewed up. Boy, were they wrong.
The Department of Homeland Security is looking to shift money from other accounts into Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a report from Politico, a move that “is sure to rile Democrats already angered by what they see as President Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies.
The move would be done through a process called “reprogramming.” Put simply, it’s a way to shift around money that’s been appropriated by Congress.
This can be done with or without congressional approval, although it was (until recently) generally something that was submitted to the House.
Given the fact that Democrats have made it clear they don’t plan on doing anything to stop the crisis at the border aside from engaging in empurpled talk about “children being ripped from parents,” the Trump administration has gotten a bit more aggressive about using reprogramming to get the funds it needs.
In March, then-acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan shifted $1 billion into a military account used for drug enforcement, allowing it to be used for border wall construction by DHS. This caused the usual gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, as Vox noted, and Democrats have threatened to “zero out” reprogramming authority in the 2020 budget.
The rending and gnashing began anew as reports of the plan to use reprogramming to fund increased immigration enforcement through ICE began to pour in.
“ICE is not going to win an award in the Democratic caucus for popularity,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, told Politico.
“I certainly cannot see our caucus supporting taking money from other programs and putting it into ICE … I can assure you there would not be support for adding additional money for ICE.”
It’s unclear how much money will be moved; it’s only known that congressional appropriators are reviewing it.
The chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, California Democratic Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, confirmed the reprogramming request existed but wouldn’t say much more than that.
Roybal-Allard told Politico “that we are not at liberty to discuss the details at this time.“
The director of policy for the liberal National Immigrant Justice Center — a group that provides legal aid to immigrants — blasted the decision.
“This administration has thumbed its nose at congressional authority over and over again by taking millions of taxpayer dollars earmarked for other priorities and using them to jail and deport more immigrants,” Heidi Altman told Politico.
She also wanted the details of the administration’s reprogramming request to be made public.
“It’s a threat to checks and balances that is hurting our democracy while lining the pockets of private prison company CEOs and devastating immigrant communities,” Altman said.
“Congress is sitting on a document explaining from where ICE took money to fuel its anti-immigrant agenda. The public deserves to see it.”
Were I a Trump administration honcho, here would be my response: “Great. Let’s do this thing.”
Not only have the Democrats and their allies not allocated additional money into immigration enforcement during a border crisis, but they’ve also actively fought it. It’s almost if they don’t believe we should have borders.
This is probably untrue — in the event any of the Democrat candidates get into office in 2021, let’s see if they’re anywhere near as soft on illegal immigration as they’ve been on the campaign trail — but it’s a great way to make the Trump administration look monstrous.
The problem is that whatever perceived advantage the Democrats might have on the border crisis issue will end up going away once Americans find out that the Democrats have fought enforcement to the extent that the Trump administration literally has to resort to reprogramming in order to get the money needed to secure the border.
This is a winning issue for Republicans. Donald Trump became president after a campaign in which the signature chant was “build the wall!” The only thing that’s changed over the intervening three years is a media pressing a narrative that families are being ripped apart by detentions and deportations.
Fine, then. Shine a light on the fact that overcrowded facilities are overcrowded, in part, because the Democrats refuse to allocate money to build better facilities. Let’s pay some more attention to the Democratic line that any enforcement of our immigration laws constitutes intolerable cruelty. Let America know, in the words of Altman, that ICE is using this money “to jail and deport more immigrants” — immigrants who, in most cases, have been accused or convicted of some kind of crime.
Is that what the Democrats and their surrogates want to run on in 2020? Because I can guarantee you Donald Trump does. If this is the only way we can enforce our immigration laws, I’d tell Trump to reprogram that money, then reprogram some more and then keep on reprogramming until he gets another four years in the White House.
This is the wrong battle for the Democrats — and the fact that they don’t know it proves how out of touch they are.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.